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“Hah~! Hah~! Hah~!”

At the Sacred church in the marigold kingdom, Dex arrived out of breath and with his white clothes stained with his blood. His arm that he lost to Rory’s sinister Dark Anima was wrapped with a piece of cloth to try and stop the bleeding.

He took the secret passage way that led to the head of this church, Father Timothy’s office.

*Bam!*

Timothy who was inside was shocked to see Dex burst through his office’s secret door and fall to the ground.

“Hey! What happened?!”

He quickly went by Dex side and tried to pick him up.

“What terrible injuries! Where’s the others?”

He asked.

“They’ve been turnt into ashes.”

Dex answered after a while.

Timothy was obviously shocked.

“That Devil King….He’s a true monster.”

Dex sat up and said.

“I originally thought that his legends were exaggerated, but now I see that they don’t give him justice. There’s no way I can beat him….that terrifying anima.”

“Calm down, and tell me what happened.”

Timothy shook his shoulders and said.

“We went to kill him, things were going as we expected; we were supposed to wear him down and slaughter him. However….he suddenly released a terrifying Dark Nature Anima.”

Dex said.

“Him having Dark Nature Anima isn’t a surprise, but I’ve never felt a Dark Anima so sinister.”

He said.

“What kind of cold hearted person do you have to be to possess such terrifying anima? He definitely doesn’t possess a human heart.”

“What about his strength? If you were to estimate it, how strong would you say he was?”

Timothy asked.

Now that they’ve openly provoked Rory, he had to figure out what the odds of them surviving his anger. However, Dex shook his head.

“I don’t know. Everything stopped making sense after he unleashed his anima. It’s hard to estimate his true strength.”

Dex answered.

“I’m going to call for back up.”

He suddenly said.

“We can’t handle him by ourselves.”

“Don’t be hasty. I have a back plan in place.”

Timothy said calmly.

“Back up plan?”

Timothy nodded.

“I had preferred to not use him, but I will have to if the Devil King comes for revenge.”

“Him? The back up plan is a person?”

Dex asked.

“It’s someone you should’ve heard of since you’re a member of Aficionado.”

When Dex heard that, he suddenly had a bad feeling.

“Follow me, I’ll show you.”

Timothy stood up and said. He then walked out of the room.

“……..”

Dex looked at the door for a while, before following after him.

Once they both left the room they walked down the church halls. They past by some members of the church, who all bowed when hey saw the two.

“Lord Dex, may I ask you to explain to me just what Aficionado is?”

Timothy asked.

“That depends. There are many things surrounding us that can’t be spoken in public. However, people call us the dark side of the church.”

Dex answered.

“I heard that the Aficionado is an organization that protects the authority of the Sacred Church from the shadows. You commit the most inhumane acts to protect the people’s faith. It’s also rumored that you guys were all drafted from the Sacred Army because of your abnormally strong faiths.”

Timothy said.

“That’s basically true.”

Dex admitted.

“I’ve also heard an interesting rumor about you guys.”

Timothy stopped in front of a wall after saying that. He knocked on the the wall three times in different locations and and wall suddenly opened up and revealed a passage way.

“You guys once dabbled in selective breeding projects, in an attempt to breed an invincible generation of followers.”

The two walked into the passageway and the wall closed up behind them.

“Where did you hear that?”

Dex asked. By this time, he was already successful in closing his wound and was slowly healing himself.

“Here and there.”

Timothy answered.

“It’s not a well known matter, but it isn’t a secret either.”

He added.

“Regarding those rumors, I don’t know how authentic they are. My rank is too low after all.”

Dex said.

The passageway they walked through was dimly lit, but didn’t look old in the least. In fact, it looked like it was created only a few years ago. They walked until they came across a door.

“It’s in here, my back up plan.”

Timothy pointed to the door and said.

He walked towards the door and opened it. Once it was opened, an ice cold wind rushed forth and made their bodies tremble.

When Dex looked inside, he saw a winter wonderland. There was snow all over the floor, ice sculptures everywhere, and a few winter animals.

“W-What the hell?”

Dex said.

“Before we go in, be sure to protect yourself from the cold at all times. One wrong move and your blood will be frozen solid before you know it.”

Timothy said while activating his anima to cover himself.

Dex looked into the room, and did the same. The two the enter the room, and was assaulted by bone chilling cold, despite preparing themselves.

“Don’t touch anything if you want to live.”

Timothy warned Dex.

“Eis.”

He suddenly spoke a name.

At that moment, it was as if the already freezing room became even colder. They then saw the snow started moving towards them as if it was alive. The snow on the ground then started mold into the shape of a human.

Eventually it took the form of a teen with white hair and blues, while dressed in white clothing.

“Father, you’re here.”

The teen spoke.

“Lord Dex, this is Eis. My adoptive son and a product of your organization’s Invisible Follower Project.”

“?!”

Dex was surprised to hear this.

“He’s my trump card against the Devil King.”

Timothy showed a bright smile.

Elsewhere, the man in question, Rory was continuing his walk through the night. He stopped.

“You can come out.”

He said.

Immediately after someone appeared out of nowhere. It was the leader of Boomslang, Reina.

“How long have you’ve known I was there?”

She asked.

“Just now. My mind was preoccupied as you could see.”

He said.

“I would like to state that the church acted on their own, and it wasn’t Christi who ordered your attack.”

Reina said.

“I know. The church has always been a group of arrogant bastards. It would be impossible for them to not attack me after I soiled the name of the prince they support.”

Rory said.

“So you won’t go after Christi’s life in retaliation?”

Rory looked surprised.

“Do I look that petty to you? Why would I go after him when he had nothing to do with it?”

“Because it would be a huge blow to the church if they couldn’t protect those they support.”

Reina said.

“True, but I prefer to be more direct when facing my enemies. I love to attack them from the front and crush their hopes, dreams, and dignity.”

Rory answered.

“As I thought, you’re a very evil person.”

Reina said.

“I never said I wasn’t.”

Rory replied.

“I am by no means a good person. I’m pure evil, it’s just that I have morals that I follow that makes me look better than I actually am.”

He added.

“But isn’t it the same for you, Leader?”

He asked with a smile.

“I don’t know what kind of life you’ve lived or how you end up working for the third prince, but I can tell that you’re quite the villain yourself.”

He leant on a tree.

“You reek of blood, just like Rei.”

Rory flicked his finger and Reina’s hair was moved by a strong gust of wind. That’s when her ears where made visible. They were a bit more pointy than a normal human’s ear.

“Well, I guess it’s to be expected from his descendant.”

He said after seeing the ears.

“How did you know?”

Reina asked as she fixed her hair.

“I guessed. You asking that question just now only confirmed my speculation. Rei was an elf and you’re part elf, so I thought that was the case since you know his techniques.”

Rory answered.

“So what are you his granddaughter or something?”

“Grandniece.”

Rory was surprised to hear that.

“Ah, Rei did say that he had a little sister back home. So you’re her granddaughter. He must’ve left his Boomslang Arts with her and you inherited them.”

He said after thinking for a bit.

“………”

Reina didn’t deny or confirm what he said, but she didn’t need to since Rory was convince that was the case.

“Since you’re not targeting Christi, then I’ll take my leave.”

She turned her back to him.

“Wait. Pandemonium was a family not related by blood. Hence I’m technically your relative.”

Rory said.

“No thanks. I’ve never met my granduncle, and I don’t consider him my relative in the least. Especially after he abandon his family, so I won’t ever consider you my family either.”

“Is that so? Looks like something happened to your family that you blame Rei for.”

Rory said.

Reina frowned and started to walk away.

“The Boomslang, do you know what it is?”

He suddenly shouted towards her back.

“It’s a large venomous tree snake. It’s venom is one of the deadliest in the world as well. If you’re bitten by it you’ll bleed from all of your pores and dead an excruciating death.”

Reina stopped when she heard that.

“To fully grasps Rei’s art, you need to think of ways how you can be as deadly as the Boomslang.”

“Why are you tell me this?”

She asked.

“To make up for what Rei did? No, I just like you and want to help you out.”

“If you want to help me out, then leave the Second Prince’s side.”

After she said that, she immediately disappeared.

Rory smiled.

“Unfortunately, I can’t do that since I want to save this country.”

He turned his back and continued his walk.

“Then again, saving this country might come at the expense of many lives. After all, I can’t keep everything under control all the time.”

He said.

“But Rei’s Grandniece huh?”

He smiled.

“Despite being part elf, her Megal side is that strong. That speaks volumes about her talent.”

He grinned.

“She and Amelia would be unstoppable if they can work together in the future.”

He then crossed his arms behind his head as he walked.

“But I guess I should get started on saving the country.”

He said.

“Alright, I’ll ignore the church for now and focus on the Princes.”

He threw his fist in the air.

“Okay, time to get to work!”

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Kodyak Combs

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